Do you ask yourself “Why am I getting angry?” You may find the reason for your anger and can manage it. Sometimes you might the answer and sometimes you may not. You are unable to control your anger. Although you have tried really hard still, you can’t seem to manage it. I want to tell you that it is okay to feel anger. We are all humans. In fact, anger doesn’t define you. It is a very normal emotion. Are there times when you wish that you had not said those hurtful words to your friend/family member? Similarly, are you becoming violent, aggressive, threatening others or even breaking things? If yes, you may want to seek anger management therapy. In this article, we will explore the psychology behind anger, how anger management therapy works, learn a few anger management therapy techniques and a few tips that you can follow.
What Is the Psychology behind Anger?
Anger is considered a negative emotion. Indeed, it is true that anger can lead to violent and aggressive behaviour. But, it also can also serve to bring the social good. Do you want to know why we get angry? or ” How can anger be useful? Read more to have a better understanding of these questions:
Why do humans get angry?
Anything that seems threatening to our personal and social world can be lead to anger. We can get angry when we feel that we are wronged when there is injustice or even when we are challenged by our beliefs and values. Anger lies in how we perceive the world around us. If we find it very threatening there are higher chances that we can become violent or aggressive to ourselves or others.
There are mainly two ways we get triggered by anger. They can either be external triggers or internal triggers. Here are the two types of anger triggers mentioned below.
Anger caused by external triggers
- Feeling like your freinds have taken you for granted
- Feeling that you are unheard by your romantic partner
- Being denied access to basic rigths due to race, religion, gender etc
Anger caused by internal triggers
- It could a learned behavior (Observed how your parents expressed anger)
- Expiriences and environment
- Unable to solve conflict (Problems in decision making)
- Our personality traits
How can anger be useful?
You may wonder how can anger be useful? The answer is yes, it can be used for the good. In fact, we often get angry when our basic rights are getting denied. Similarly, discrimination and exploitation primarily begin with anger and frustration. Anger has had many positive effects on society. Apartheid movement, Women’s right to vote etc. In fact, social movements start with a spur of anger and rage.
Anger can help you out in your personal life too. You feel that your friends have taken you for granted. This anger in you makes you realise that you don’t deserve to be treated in that manner. Further, this anger in you makes you confront your friend about it. But, if they are not understanding of your feelings, you may even cut off your relations with them. Hence anger can empower you to have self-respect and stand up for yourself.
Hence, anger can definitely be useful if channelised in the right direction and with the right purpose.
10 Symptoms You Should Watch Out For
At the moment, we don’t have clinical criteria to diagnose problematic anger. But, these are some symptoms that may tell you if you have anger management issues. Here is the checklist:
- Difficutly to manage express anger in a healthy way
- Difficulties in social, work relationships and romantic relationships
- Substance abuse/ addiction
- Self- harm
- Social withdrawal
- Frequent intense anger outbursts
- Very quick to anger
- Feeling angry for a long period
- Getting violent while drinking alcohol
- Facing issues with the law due to anger related behavior and violence.
According to Psychologist Lench, if anger is affecting your daily living. It is a problem. if you see that it affects your health, relationships, career. It is likely that it is dysfunctional.
What Is the Best Therapy for Anger Management?
CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a very effective therapy for managing anger. These anger management therapy techniques in CBT target the physiological and emotional aspects of anger. Also, gives emphasis on the cognitive/ behavioural elements that drive problematic anger in individuals. Let’s look at a few anger management techniques.
Cognitive restructuring helps clients to understand the unhealthy or biased beliefs that lead them to anger. These can be beliefs such as “Nobody listens to me”. Therefore, clients are encouraged to change their unhealthy beliefs to thinking that is more helpful and close to reality. Hence, changing the way one thinks can change the way one reacts to the situation.
Relaxation based Interventions
Relaxation based interventions deal with physiological and emotional aspects of anger. Also, people learn to use relaxation to cope when experiencing anger. These can be breathing exercises, meditation etc. Hence, being in a positive state of mind can help people think before acting out. Further, these can help in problem-solving and decision making.
Social Skills Training
Social skills training helps to improve conflict resolving skills and communication. Clients develop better listening skills and learn to be more assertive. Also, they are encouraged to think about the impact of their hurtful words and behaviour on others. They learn to negotiate and have better communication with others. When they see that once they are being able to communicate in a better manner, this itself can reduce anger. This makes them know that the situation can be handled in a much better way. Also, this reduces unnecessary conflict as well. Hence, they can deal with an anger-provoking situation in a better way
Following these anger management techniques on your own may be helpful. But, for much more effective anger management it is best to seek help from a mental health professional. In addition, if you are someone who has other mental health conditions such as addiction or depression, it is better to work with a psychologist for these anger management therapy techniques to be more effective.
Be Mindful and Take It Slow
It is important to acknowledge and accept that you are feeling this anger. You can manage anger when you accept it. Take a minute or two to think. Slow down. Take a breath. Ask yourself why are feeling like this? What is making you angry? Are you noticing any patterns? Do you understand what triggers you? Anger can make you feel shame, guilt and even embarrassment. It is okay to feel these things. But, sometimes it is hard to exactly know what is triggering you. Therefore, in such times you take a help of a psychologist to understand and deal with anger or talk to a family member/ friend who you can trust.
At Epsychonline we have a series of self-help courses such as “DBT for Anger” that can help you understand your anger triggers and help you in anger management techniques. Please visit our Courses page to find more about it. If you are interested, there is an article to read up a bit more on ” Online Anger Management Classes on Losing Your Temper” to manage anger in a healthy manner.